Graphic Novel Review: Fables, Vol. 2: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham
Date of Publication: August 1, 2003
Coming on the heels of the first volume, Jack and Rose Red are serving community service for the stunt they pulled. Snow White takes her sister to The Farm, a place where fables who can’t blend with human society because of their looks are sent. Snow says the trip would give them some sister time to resolve their issues and that she thinks it’s important that Rose visit The Farm to see how others in their community live. Naturally, Rose is resistant to the idea. When they arrive at the farm, the sisters realize that things are a little off in the idyllic community, and soon find themselves embroiled in bitter politics.
In this volume, we see a naïve side to Snow. She believes that, because they try to make The Farm as comfortable as possible, there’s no reason for the fables that live there to be unhappy. She doesn’t look beyond the material assistance they provide the fables there. Therefore, she can’t see that some things aren’t made better by throwing money at it. There are things that are worth far more than things such as freedom, independence, and dignity. It frustrated me a little bit just how far the depth of her naïveté went. It took Snow an extremely long time to grasp that things were more than a little strange there. I could understand her not grasping what was happening at first, but as these troubling things continued to happen, she still didn’t get it. I just think Snow is smarter than that.
In a way, it’s a little ironic that Snow took Rose there in hopes of making her aware of this part of the community, but she is the one who leaves with a new awareness about The Farm and how the inhabitants feel about it. I hope that this aspect doesn’t just stop here because this adds an important struggle to their story. Every book doesn’t need to be about this, but this isn’t something that should promptly be forgotten. I think this will be something visited again in the future if I’m to judge by some of the panels.
This volume also adds another facet to Snow and Rose’s relationship. We learn a little more about how deeply these old hurts run. It was a relief to see that Charming wasn’t their main problem. I didn’t want this to be yet another story about women falling out because of a man. It’s too easy, so while Charming did play a part in their rift, the damage had been done long before him. (I will concede the main reason may be a bit cliché, as well, though.) Also, I appreciated that there’s acknowledgement that it’s going to take time for the two women to regain their former closeness instead of them hugging it out over ice cream in just one volume. I hope this relationship will truly be explored and restored over the course of the series.
I recently played the first episode of Telltale’s The Wolf Among Us (if you like interactive fiction type games, I highly recommend this and The Walking Dead Game by Telltale), which is based on these comics. I loved the direction the game took and decided to jump into the second volume of the series. However, I’m still not quite as taken with this series as I want to be. I think the idea of it and the characters are interesting, and I’m a big fan of imaginative retellings. But there’s something about the story that’s not quite engaging me as much as I feel it should. And I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. Hopefully, my feelings will change to be more positive as I continue to read the story. Wait, did I say that in my last review?